Living space in major cities has never been at a higher premium than it is right now. A combination of rising prices and a move away from long-term jobs are leaving some young adults without the opportunity to invest in traditional types of housing.
At the same time, market trends show that the attraction of big cities is showing no sign of waning, with their ecosystem of work, entertainment and amenities perfectly suiting our new 24-hour lifestyles.
So how will new housing developments cater to city living in the future? The answer could be in a form of accommodation that’s already considered the norm for students and the elderly: the cluster development.
A cluster development is a living arrangement in which residents have their own private space, but with some amenities being shared between residences. This can be on a smaller and more intimate scale, with shared spaces including kitchen and living areas, or a larger scale in which the communal resources might include a shared garden and other leisure facilities.
Sharing some resources between several different households has clear financial advantages, with the footprint of each individual cluster house being reduced, which in turn reduces the cost to build and to rent.
But the advantages of such developments go beyond the financial; they can help to restore a sense of community in what can otherwise be a busy but lonely urban environment.
Cluster developments aren’t the only urban planning development due to make city living more affordable in the future. Micro living is an emerging trend in which the scale of a home is reduced to be significantly smaller than a traditional house or apartment.
Micro living can accommodate all the trappings of a modern apartment, but with space-saving tricks including multi-functional furniture, as well as sleek and compact technology to make the most of every inch.
Cluster developments hark back to a time when residential communities were small and amenities were shared among the residents of a village.
In large modern cities this may seem unusual, but they represent a tried and tested way of life that still brings advantages for residents – whether avoiding isolation or making high-quality housing affordable. This is what lends them enduring appeal, particularly among young professionals who want good value for money, and those who want to retain a sense of community in a big city.
Micro living, although a much newer concept, is only becoming more widespread as developments in household design and technology enable people to downsize to greater and greater degrees.
These new forms of living could be among the most future-proof property investments available, offering access to exclusive neighbourhoods at a more achievable price point. By cutting out the unnecessary space, and still retaining the key elements of an aspirational lifestyle, less really could be more for property investors.